Channel: Jamal Badawi
In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon the servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servants of God, I greet you with my usual greeting, greeting that has been used by all the prophets from Abraham to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum, which means peace be unto you. Today we have our 40th program in our series dealing with the social system in Islam. More particularly, we'll be continuing with our discussion of the
husband's rights in marriage. I'm having Rashid and I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jamal better we'll St. Mary's University brother, Jamal Assalamu alaykum Malik,
could I ask you to very quickly summarize the main points that we touched on last week in our program? First, we continued some discussion that came as
kind of sidetrack in the discussion of the wife side issues that pertains to surrogate motherhood and the claim that someday you might be able to select the sex of the fetus. And we'll discuss some of the issues pertaining to this.
And we focused mostly on the husband. And we indicated that as the wife should be expected to be treated with love, affection, and respect, she should also be cheerful and treat her husband in a similar way.
Secondly, that you should be cooperative with him. And we talked about the concept of obedience, that the wife should be obedient to harassment.
We refer to two crucial verses in the Quran one in chapter three, that's verse 34. The other in chapter two, verse 228, which if you put together really it shows that while men and women or husbands and wives have similar claims and rights over each others,
they still the role of the leadership, the role of being the provider maintain our protectors, and head of the family has been assigned according to the Quran to the husband. And we discussed also the, from the grammatical point of view the word father as used in the Quran, which does not necessarily mean superiority as some people may misinterpret or miss translate. It simply means the position of leadership within the family.
I wonder if there are if you can share with us some of the prophetic traditions or sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them, which confirm the obligation of the wife to obey her husband. Okay. There are several First of all, there is one that was narrated in Ahmed and palani, in which Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him gives four basic criteria for a woman to go into paradise, to indicate again the importance of these items. And if a woman keeps her five, required daily prayers, and tests during the month of Ramadan, the obligatory fasting
and maintain or safeguard her chastity and obey her husband, it will be told to her in the Day of Judgment entered any of the doors of Paradise you wish that is to just choose to go to Paradise,
another saying of the Prophet which is an interesting one, because some people also don't fully get the message from it. This nourish this Harish was narrated in a number of prophetic traditions or books on prophetic traditions in Abu Dawood. tirmidhi. If no magic have been, in which the Prophet says, If I were
to commend any human being, to prostrate before any other human being, I would have ordered the wife, the woman who's the wife, the wife, to prostrate before her husband because of his claim on her, or because of his that he had right and claim on her. There are three important observations on this prophetic saying, first of all, he says if I wish, which is talking really about something impossible, because as you know, in Islam, no human being is supposed to bow
Prostate before any other human being the only one to vote for or before is God, because value is a expression of full submission and full submission is due to God alone, not to any other human being. And that's why in fact that in one other version of the same tradition, which was edited, and
he says it is not appropriate for a human being to bow to another human being. And if it were appropriate, I would have commanded the wife to bow down before it has been again an expression of respect and cooperation. One time,
we were sitting, discussing that issue, and there was a physician, a female physician, sitting there, and one of the men sitting in the discussion tried to tease her a little bit, the way some people might look at this saying, on the surface, and say, didn't the Prophet say that, if I were taught that anyone to bow down, or the woman who wrote to her husband, and she had answered in a very intelligent way, she said, If I had a husband, who really is a truly Muslim husband, who loves me, or cherishes me, and respect me, and treat me with dignity, I would feel like bow down to him. Except that, since it's forbidden, I wouldn't do it. That was really a very,
so it's not just a matter of just like one woman was reported, and mother, advising her daughter at the time of marriage. And she said to her, be to your husband, like a slave, he will be to you like your slave. So it shouldn't be taken really in the literal sense that loss of dignity or loss of position. I think, that that if a person really shows this love and affection as it is, you know, just to obedience, the other side would reciprocate in the same affectionate type of manner.
But in any case, it's so obvious. That's my third observation and the saying that what is really meant here is to dramatize not to take the telly but to dramatize the importance of cooperation in discipline and orders within the family, Sophie,
maybe I should add, a couple of more prophetic tradition here, if not best, one of the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him, reported that one woman came to him once as a representative of other women. And she said to the Prophet, now, men go and struggled in the past of God, and sometimes they sacrifice their own lives, or put their lives on the line in the battlefield. If they win, God will reward them. If they get masters, they go to Paradise. And we women simply support them. What what kind of
benefit that we get. In other words, they think men are taking all the reward. The Prophet answered that and he said, Tell all the other women behind you, the woman who sent you that the obedience to your husband's, and the recognition and acknowledgement of his claim on your his right on you, is equivalent to that that is equivalent to martyrdom. So you deserve the same heaven did award for that. And when he added a few of you only do it, that's only a few women are truly so devoted, that they really acknowledge and treat their husbands with respect and what they deserve to be treated. Several saying of the prophets were also reported both in Bukhari and Muslim, indicating that if a
woman dies, while her husband is really pleased with her, then she will enter into paradise. In the opposite also, as mentioned, in a new measure, and in a headband, for example, the prophet said that if
there are certain types of people whose prayers is not accepted, doesn't go much beyond their heads. And one of those categories he said, a woman whose husband sleeps while he's really angry with her for a good reason, of course, not because of wrong doing on his part, but because of really bad character or misbehavior on her part. So it's so obvious then that the evidence from the prophetic tradition is consistent with the verses that we analyzed in the previous program. And that the issue here is not the issue of inferiority or superiority or who is the boss in the simplistic sense, but rather, is the issue of mutual cooperation, the integrity and cohesiveness of the family as a social
After having heard you make the excellent explanation, and one wonders how people can incorrectly interpret the husband's responsibility for the family is somehow reflecting some sense of male superiority. I'm interested in getting your opinion of
the basis for some of the people holding this kind of view. What Why do you think people hold that kind of view? Okay, well, first of all, some of them point to the fact
That in Islamic law, a woman, most of the time inherits half of the shares that's assigned to men. And they say, right, that's half, she's a half a man worth half a man.
They point out that in some cases of witness, you're required to women witnesses, and one men or two men. And this, alright, you need two women, for one men as a witness, that's, again, reflecting on the worst of a woman, That woman is worse have a men.
They also say that the Quran speaks about or emphasizes the leadership of the husband in the family, and the obedience of the wife to the husband, but not the reverse.
But in all of this, you know, these are just to give you an idea, basically as to what basis they use for this argument. And many of them, by the way, are non Muslim scholars who fail to understand the depth and the relatedness or interrelatedness of the various aspects of Islamic law. But there might be even some Muslim according to the same kind of problem. Well, now how would you? How would you explain or refute the the, these points of view, what to start with? It is my understanding is that this explanations are contrary to Islamic law, both in letter and spirit. Let me give you my reasons, at least. First of all, in the Quran, for example, in chapter 14, verse 13, it says in
karma command, the law of karma, it says the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you the most God fearing or God conscious among you.
And that's a very blanket and clear statement that shows again, that superiority and inferiority is only by virtue of piety not by maleness, or femaleness or any other subsidiary issue.
in the, in the first chapter of the Quran in the very beginning, it also speaks about God creating mankind from a single soul, that is, the soul of a woman is the same like the soul of men. So where is the half a woman being half the men? Where does it come from reading.
Now, we have spoken in a different programs in the past, for example, in program 14, and given sufficient evidence to show that in Islam, there is no such thing as distinction between the position of men and women in the sight of God in terms of their spiritual and human status. So I need not repeated but just make a cross reference to that. As far as the question of inheritance, this also was discussed in the 15th program in this series, and we have shown there in some detail, how the various shares and inheritance are totally separate and totally
unrelated to the whole notion of the worth of a man or a woman. And that man in Islam is responsible fully for the finances of the family, regardless of the width of his wife. And as such, he deserves to have a little bit more in terms of inheritance in consideration of his additional financial burden that has nothing to do again with
with superiority or inferiority. The question of witness was also discussed in the 18th and 19th. program in this series in some greater detail. And we said the question of witness was mentioned in the Quran in the context of financial contracts. And the verse itself seemed to indicate that the main reason behind it is that on the average, women may not be too involved or experienced in financial dealings. So the purpose is not really to put her as have the words of man, but rather to ascertain the facts. At the time of contracting. We indicated also, at that time, that in Islamic law, that witness of a woman alone, even without a man is acceptable, especially in the case of
maternal or feminine type of issues, that a witness I don't even is accepted.
So again, I'm not stupid, I'm just making cross reference on this point. As far as the question of leadership within the family circle, again, this is a matter which is related more to associate organization, division of labor, or the so called differentiation of roles, which is to be played by men and women, or husbands and wife
in a way that does not insist on super efficient mathematical equality, but rather look at equity. You see, equality and equity are not exactly the same thing. If you insist on exact equality in each and every issue,
then you might end up really committing injustice. But what we're really talking about is equity, which means that the totality of rights and privileges and obligations of men would be approximately equivalent to the totality of rights obligations and privileges also of women.
Same thing, the husband may have some additional privileges being the leader of the family, but you'd have also additional responsibility of providing for the family, the wife can keep her own separate. So everything has its
sides, you can look at it from both point of views. So equity really is the matter that we're talking about. And finally, maybe I should add here also that the term even football, that's Allah has made some extent over others, as most people translated that God made men, leaders are heads of the family because God made men even if you interpret this way, except women in certain respects, that's big providers for the semi, that this very same term football appears in the Quran. In the context of wealth, even when Alibaba comm Alibaba for risk, this appears in chapter 16, verse 71, in the Quran that God has made some of you excel, others in wealth. But does it mean that a person is
better because he's wealthy and another is inferior? Because he's less wealthy? It doesn't mean that at all. So the this interpretation, I think, is quite erroneous in my humble understanding. Now, when this issue was raised, and many people particularly in North America asked the question, Well, why can't Why not? Why can't the female be the leader of the family? How would you respond to somebody who held that particular view? Okay, that view seem to reflect
three common assumptions. But again, try to show that this assumptions are not necessarily correct in my understanding.
The first assumption is that the leadership of the husband to the family and his headship of the family constitute bias for one six, against other.
Secondly, it seems to assume also that the headship of the family, leadership of the family means superiority. And the absence of it means inferiority. And since Islam say the husband should be the leaders and the head of the family, it means superiority of the husband.
A third assumption seemed to be that the obedience of the wife and Hare cooperation with her husband, as the leader of the family, means consideration of her personality and identity, and complete submission and subjection to her husband. Let me show how I consider all these assumptions incorrect at least from an Islamic point of view.
To start with, to the Muslim, male or female,
the teaching of God, which is enshrined in the Quran, the Word of God or
revealed to His Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, are definitely free from bias towards male or female. Because God after all, is neither male nor female, and has no reason to discriminate or make that distinction between his crutches. So when God provide this outline, and guidance in establishing orderly social life on the family level, or wider or larger levels, then it must have some wisdom must have some reasons whether or not we are able to fully grasp it at one point of time, or the other. So that dismisses this whole notion, at least for the Muslim of bias, why should God be biased for males or females for that matter.
And another aspect
is that the headship of the family does not mean as some people may think, superiority of men over women, there are at least three reasons for that. First of all, in Islamic teaching, whenever there is any social unit, even more than one person, there must be some leadership. Even in the prayers, the five daily prayers, if there are two people praying together, one of them acts as a leader or a man to the prayers.
By the same token, we find that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as merited in Abu Dhabi. He said, If three of you are traveling together, let them select one of them as a mayor or leader. So even if you have three, not only men and two, but even if you have three men, there must be some leadership. So the concept of leadership and orders in Islamic understanding is something that applies to females, I don't want to mess around all a combination of males and females, it's nothing to do with superiority or inferiority.
In a previous
session in this series, that's my second reason, particularly program number 18.
We have explained in some great detail, the StG of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, but each one of you is a shepherd or leader and he is responsible for his trust and he included a woman also is a leader or a trustee and she is responsible for her trust. And we try to show again how leadership can be looked at in different level from different aspects. There is no black and white when you talk about leadership, it could be shared leadership.
As my third reason again, why that second
assumption is incorrect is that centuries after the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him spoke of this broader concept of leadership, we find that many sociologists today have come to realize the importance of this Blitz in the meaning or defining leadership. For example, zyliss as he wrote in the Handbook of modern sociology,
he, after studying the various the patterns of various families throughout history,
he referred to a distinction that sociologists made between two types of leadership, instrumental leadership, which means leadership, which focus more on things which are external to the system, the family here being assistant, that is the connection between the family and the outside world instrumental, the second type of leadership, his expressive leadership, which works largely within the boundaries of the system itself, that is within the boundaries of the family, more focus on the family. And he said studies seems to conclude that in all, but very few societies, past or present, the instrumental leadership roles, that is the external part of it seem to have been played largely
not exclusively, but largely by the husband, or father. That's By the mid side.
And that expressive leadership, which focus more closely on the internal affairs of the family seems to have been played largely, but again, not explicitly, by the female side by the wife, mother type of role.
Of course, needless to say, that there may be certain circumstances which may arise from time to time, where a woman may be forced by circumstances, to play both types of leadership, instrumental and expressive, that's the case of a woman who might be widowed, divorced, or a woman whose husband is seriously ill or incapable of doing his function as a husband in the family, in which case the woman would play both roles would be the provider, also for the family, and also looking after the internal problem of the system, the family as a system,
which of course definitely is a very big burden that would be placed on the woman to play alone. This might be exceptions, but on the whole, in the normal circumstances, there's some kind of sharing of leadership in these two manifestations.
As to the third assumption, that obedience, and acceptance of the leadership of the husband means total submissiveness and lack of dignity or consideration of her own individuality and personality. Again, this is absolutely wrong, because it's contrary to the limits and boundaries of the concept of obedience in Islam, if you wish I could elaborate on that a little later. But in addition to the erroneous assumptions that I've just discussed, one should also add, that is the husband in Islamic law is the one who is fully responsible to provide for the family and earn the living for the family, it would sound rather unfair to say that his wife should have the ultimate say, and the
final word as to how to dispose of this property that he earned, to send it to support his family. Of course, she has final say and had on property that she earns, or that she had before marriage. But to say that the husband earns, and the wife would have final say, doesn't sound to be too,
too fair. Of course, she has a claim
on her husband's income by virtue of Islamic law. And we discuss that in some detail before, she does have a claim and she should not feel that he's just paying her charity, it is his duty, because there is mutual dependency between husband and wife. But the final say, of course, should not be really theirs. They should be they could be consultation. But I don't think that's any reasonable and fair wife would claim that she should have the final say, in matters like that. When are you suggesting that there are some limits and boundaries to obedience that might be useful and helpful at this point, if I could get you to elaborate on that. Okay, what to start with? It is important to
indicate that in Islam, there is nothing called absolute, unqualified authority or obedience.
The only unqualified and complete submissive acceptance of authority is the acceptance of authority of the creator of the universe of God alone, as the sole possessor is the sole owner and Master of the Universe and the only absolute sovereign. Nobody can be absolute sovereign, but God, so absolute obedience is due to God.
The second point to remember is that on the basis of
This obedience to any creature, whether that creature of God is a husband, a father,
a boss at work, or a ruler,
a an obedience which is not absolute, but rather derived and obedience derived from obedience to God and within the limits of obedience to God. To clarify this issue, we refer to some of the sayings of the Prophet peace be upon him, in which he says, as narrated in Timothy, that there is no obedience law you must look and see, masetto has no obedience is you to any human being, is commanded to do things which constitute this obedience to God.
This means that, of course, the question of blind obedience, uncritical acceptance of authority is totally contrary to the teaching of Islam. For example, if a husband tells his wife,
don't you wear this Islamic dress, I don't like it, even though God says, you observed that coat of dress, she doesn't have to obey Him. If she tell if he tells his wife, take this, you know, wine and drink, she has the right to refuse doesn't only apply to the wife, even if a father tells his son don't you pray, don't test the required test. For example, the son doesn't have to obey that. So this applies to any level really, that any obedience or any command, contrary to the teaching of God, is that something that could be disobeyed that applies also to husband wife relationship. A third aspect is that obedience also between husband and wife, or the obedience of the wife is
restricted and limited to things which pretend to his rights or claims over her. In other words, the husband, for example, can not tell his wife. Listen, I want you to dispose of your personal property in this way or that way. He has no right to say that, because have personal property before marriage or after marriage is her own. She doesn't have to obey Him in this because that does not fall within the boundaries of his rights or claims on her.
By the same token, her husband, for example, cannot even force his wife to change her religion, or particular religious faith cannot deprive heart from the right to express her feelings or opinion.
A first issue which is even very important to consider is that even then, obedience is qualified by being obedient in things which are fair, customary, acceptable, or reasonable, if you will.
We go to the Quran itself. And we find a clear evidence for that even in the relationship between the believers and the Prophet himself, despite of the respect of the Prophet, the fact that he was guided by God and all that he said or did in the matters of Islamic law. Even then, in chapter 65, in the Quran, verse 12, where it talks about women coming to the prophet to to make the oath of allegiance and acceptance of leadership and all that. And he says what I asked in a coffee Morrow the Quran the Quran says that if they give a commitment, that they will not disobey you in Morrow in things which are fair, if you ask them to do something which is qualified by being fair, customary
and reasonable, then accept it from them.
In one saying of the Prophet wishes narrated in both Bukhari and Muslim,
the Prophet says that there is no obedience in matters that considers obedience to God similar to the ones I mentioned earlier, but he added in namaqua, to Morrow, obedience is only required in requests which are fair, reasonable customer.
This means that the obedience here
which is must be related to the rights of the husband must be illegitimate and themselves must be fair.
Furthermore, if I may add a fifth point, obedience does not mean dictatorship or capricious orders or abuse of authority. Because in Islam, again, any type of obedience must be within the boundaries of the so called Shura, or mutual consultation. The Quran even mentioned in chapter two,
verse 233, that even in the case of divorce, husband and wife should have some consultation with each other concerning the meaning of the child. So even consultation he is in hard situations like divorce is required. How about the case where there's affection and there's good and successful marriage? This is basically obedience in the Islamic perspective,
where you can never really find anything that you can say it's improper or undignified. It's a qualified, heavily qualified and bounded type of opinions. It's not absolute at all. No. Okay. Well, we've exhausted our time.
for the day, we'll leave it at that and invite you all back next week we will continue our discussion. Thank you for watching Assalamu alaikum peace PMP